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Coronavirus: ICUs feel the pressure as hospitalisations remain high ahead of new school year

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Despite an apparent drop in coronavirus cases, hospitalisations remained high, and the situation could worsen when schools open next month, an expert said on Wednesday.

Epidemiologist Dr Michalis Voniatis told the Cyprus News Agency that if the situation does not improve, things will be more difficult in September when schools open.

“Things are a bit difficult because even though it seems on the surface that the cases are decreasing, the problem remains because we have a high number of hospitalisations and, in fact, we have the highest number of hospitalisations in the intensive care units (ICUs) and a large number of intubations,” Voniatis said.

He explained that, in the previous waves, when there was a drop in cases, the same was true for hospitalisations whereas this was not the case this time.

Voniatis said authorities should be concerned over the current situation because either the real number of infections could not be accurately detected because free rapid tests had been terminated or the Delta variant is perhaps making people sicker, even children and youths, resulting in more hospitalisations.

Voniatis stressed the importance of people continuing to observe the personal protection measures, especially indoors and in places where they come in contact with people they don’t know. He said if people do not follow the measures, there is possibility of infection even of those who were vaccinated, who can transmit the virus but not get seriously ill.

He said he believed the number of infections was higher than the one announced on a daily basis.

According to Amalia Hadjiyianni, head of the Famagusta general hospital that also operates as reference hospital for Covid-19, ICUs and high dependence units were congested at the moment.

Hadjiyianni said 66 patients were being treated at the reference hospital, six of whom in the high dependency unit since they need closer monitoring.

The youngest patient is 32 years old and the oldest is 92, while the average age of the patients is now 60 years, she said. Hadjiyianni said 89 per cent of patients at the reference hospital were not vaccinated.

The state health services organisation, Okypy, said ICUs were feeling the pressure.

Okypy spokesman Charalambos Charilaou told CNA on Wednesday that the ICUs continue to feel the pressure since more than 50 people were being treated there daily.

“It is estimated that this pressure will also continue next week until it stabilises, and we will gradually see a reduction,” he added.

Charilaou said the situation in state hospitals, that are treating patients with Covid-19, was being assessed daily and Okypy was taking the due actions when needed.

He said it seems there has been a stabilisation in the numbers of hospitalisations in ordinary wards, with a drop expected within the coming days.

The Okypy official called on people to avoid crowds on their holidays and continue to observe all health protocols.

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